Lesson Ten • Tribulation
Dr. Randy T. Johnson
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” Matthew 24:21
1. What do you know about the “Great Tribulation”?
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36
2. Do you have any thoughts about the “Great Tribulation” and its timing?
There are a few things we know about the Great Tribulation. It is in the future, but no one knows the exact timing. It will be horrible. Satan will run rampant. Jesus will return. There will be a battle. Jesus wins!
Concerning the book of Revelation, Charles Ryrie wrote, “Chapters 6-19, which picture the tribulation period, contain three series of judgments: the seals (6), the trumpets (8-9), and the bowls (16).” Paige Patterson says the middle portion of the book of Revelation “concentrates almost entirely on the events referenced as the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) or the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; Zephaniah 1:15; Daniel 12:1). Both Old Testament anticipation and New Testament elucidation feature this as a time of indescribable judgment on a rebellious earth.”
It would be helpful to read Matthew chapter 24 and Revelation chapter 6. Warren Wiersbe made this observation between the two passages:
a.) False Christs (vv. 4-5)
b.) Wars (v. 6)
c.) Famines (v. 7)
d.) Death (vv. 7-8)
e.) Martyrs (v. 9)
f.) Worldwide Chaos (vv. 10-13)
a.) White Horse Rider (vv. 1-2)
b.) Red Horse – War (vv. 3-4)
c.) Black Horse – Famine (vv. 5-6)
d.) Pale Horse – Death (vv. 7-8)
e.) Martyrs Under the Altar (vv. 9-11)
f.) Worldwide Chaos (vv. 12-17)
3. Who is speaking in Matthew chapter 24?
4. What is He describing in Matthew chapter 24?
Revelation chapters 8, 9, and 16 describe the judgments of the Great Tribulation. It would be good to read those chapters.
Warren Wiersbe noted a similarity between the trumpets and the bowls:
The Judgment | The Trumpets | The Bowls
The Earth | T: Rev. 8:1-7 | B: Rev. 16:1-2
The Sea | T: Rev. 8:8-9 | B: Rev. 16:3
The Rivers | T: Rev. 8:10-11 | B: Rev. 16:4-7
The Heavens | T: Rev. 8:12-13 | B: Rev. 16:8-9
Mankind – Torment | T: Rev. 9:1-2 | B: Rev. 16:10-11
An Army | T: Rev. 9:13-21 | B: Rev. 16:12-16
Angry Nations | T: Rev. 11:15-19 | B: Rev.16:17-21
5. Does anything stand out to you in these chapters?
6. How much of the earth was destroyed? How many of the creatures of the sea are destroyed? What is Wormwood? What was affected in the heavens? How long was mankind tormented?
Instead of spending a lot of time and space on these judgments, it is clear to say that they will be horrible!
Through all of this, one verse stood out to me. Revelation 16:11 says, “And cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.”
7. What does it mean to “repent”?
God turns the world upside down to get man’s attention. In spite of the display of His immense power, the majority of mankind will reject His offer for salvation.
Romans 1:18-20 also seems to reflect this sentiment, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
8. Why are people without any excuse when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ?
The Great Tribulation cannot be captured by any film director. However, there are daily challenges and tribulations that we may and will face.
For believers, James 1:2-4 states a benefit of trials today, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
9. What is the benefit listed here of a proper perspective during trials?
For unbelievers, 2 Peter 3:9 expresses a sense of tough love, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
10. What is meant by the word “perish”?
If you have not given your life to the Lord, please do not delay. Your future will go from bad to worse.
If you have given your life to the Lord, remember that although we do not know exactly what the future holds, we know Who holds the future.